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World's Biggest Composite Ship Launched at VT

  • Friday, 5th December 2003
  • Reading time: about 4 minutes

The world’s biggest composites ship was launched by VT (formerly Vosper Thornycroft) Shipbuilding at its Southampton shipyard last week.

The 75m. Mirabella V is also the biggest single masted yacht ever built and will be used as a charter vessel, operating mainly in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, when she enters service early next year.

Owned by US businessman Joe Vittoria, Mirabella V was named by his wife Luciana and will now complete fitting out before she starts sea trials. The yacht will be fitted with a mast some 90 metres high, which will eventually support some 3,000 square metres of sail.

Designed by Ron Holland, she will carry up to 12 passengers in luxury surroundings with facilities on board including a 600-bottle wine cellar and an outdoor cinema. Guests will also be able to sail small yachts, enjoy remote controlled replicas of the Mirabella V, ride jet skis and have their own 29 ft motor launch – all carried in a garage at the stern of the vessel.

Charter cost will be some $250,000 a week and several potential clients have expressed an interest in specific periods for the year ahead.

Mr Vittoria commented: “”Mirabella V is the most unique yacht in the world. The technical innovation necessary to create it is unmatched in any other project. Its mast alone is almost 100ft higher than any produced to date and a lifting keel of 150 tonnes has never been done.

“”Obviously the charter guests will be in the upper level financially. Many will be sailors but most will want the experience of just being on the boat. To be able to move through the water at 20 knots without the noise and vibration of engines will be a unique and glorious experience.””

VT’s experience as a composite shipbuilder is based on over 30 years of work in constructing such vessels, mainly minehunters for the Royal Navy. That pedigree made the UK yard one of the few in the world capable of carrying out such a project.

Mirabella V is also the last ship to be built at the company’s Woolston yard with VT having re-located to new shipbuilding facilities in Portsmouth Naval Base after nearly 100 years at Woolston.

“”Mirabella V will be among the most famous yachts ever built and underlines VT’s position as a world leader in shipbuilding innovation,”” commented VT Shipbuilding Managing Director Peter McIntosh.

The Mirabella V launched within 1% of its weight estimate. “”For a performance cruising yacht, keeping a close eye on the weight of the yacht and her interior is vital so as to ensure we reach our target speeds”” explains Holland. “”Quite apart from hull and interior weights, this pioneering yacht had additional unpredicted weights imposed by MCA requirements in areas such as fireproofing.””

Mirabella V’s finished displacement is estimated at 750 tonnes. Her 150 tonnes lifting keel will be fitted in Portsmouth next week and her 31 tonnes mast and rigging will be transported to Southampton in early December for stepping over the Christmas holiday period. Holland and his team will also be tracking the interior joinery weights and ship’s stores and tenders weights. One of the tenders is a 29 foot Hinckley Picnic Boat.

Holland is predicting that Mirabella V will achieve 20 kts. downwind under sail, while under power she will reach speeds of up to 16 kts.

Although Mirabella V at 245 ft. (75 m) is a pioneering yacht, Holland and his team are no strangers to these sophisticated calculations. One of the leading superyacht designers in the world, Holland has been to the fore in establishing new frontiers in superyacht design over the last 20 years. This year and the Mirabella V launch mark the 30th anniversary of Holland’s Irish studio.

Length Overall: 75.2m.
Waterline length at full load: 61.0m.
Beam moulded: 14.82m.
Draft (centreboard up) 3.9m.
Draft (centreboard down) 10.0m.
Full load displacement: 740 tonnes
Inner jib plus main sail area: 2210 sq. m.
Reacher plus main sail area: 2791 sq. m.
Maximum propulsion power: 2 x 788kW at 2188 rpm
Maximum continuous speed: 16 knots
Electrical generators (main): 2 x 200kW
Emergency generator: 1 x 80 kw

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